During the past several years, a variety of liposuction techniques and technologies have been developed and some have been widely advertised as “the next great thing” in liposuction. These include laser liposuction (SmartLipo), ultrasonic liposuction (UAL), power-assisted liposuction (PAL), and radiofrequency assisted liposuction (RFAL, BodyTite). What all of these liposuction technologies have in common is that they all deploy heat into the fatty tissue in order to melt fat cells and with the theoretical goal of producing tissue tightening. With the exception of BodyTite, the heat is deployed at the end of a special cannula. With BodyTite, the heat actually passes from the deep cannula to the surface of the skin. Although all of these liposuction technologies claim faster recovery, less bruising, and less pain, the opposite is most likely the truth. These technologies all require the tissues to be injected with wetting solution prior to treatment (tumescence), and require traditional aspiration, or suction, of fat after they are used. The addition of heat with temperatures in excess of 1,000 degrees Centigrade can only add to the risk of overcorrection, which as discussed earlier is the biggest potential problem with liposuction, as well as risking actual skin injury or even necrosis.

“Most people’s fat is generally soft,” says Dr. Rapaport. “Therefore, using these technologies is analogous to a carpenter using power tools when he is trying to carve and shape soft wood.” The claim of these technologies to produce lasting tightening has really never been well established. These technologies can be helpful, and he does use them when treating particularly dense tissues, such as the male breast or areas that have undergone liposuction before, and therefore have an increased amount of scar tissue.

BodyTite is currently unavailable in the United States, because the FDA determined that the company’s application required further clinical studies prior to approval.

If you have questions concerning liposuction plastic surgery, or would like to schedule a liposuction consultation with the Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, please phone David P. Rapaport’s Manhattan, New York Plastic Surgery office at 212.249.9955 or email the NYC Plastic Surgeon at info@drrapaport.com.
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